Online Sports Betting and Casino Dominate Sweden’s Unregulated Gambling Market

Online sports betting has been holding the largest share in Sweden’s unregulated online gambling market over the past decade, according to recent data from H2 Gambling Capital and Lotteriinspektionen, the local gambling regulator.

However, while revenue from unregulated sports betting services accounted for half of the country’s unregulated market in 2008, it represented a 42% share in 2017. Growing interest in online casino games in recent years increased that segment’s market share to 40% in 2017 from 21% in 2008, data showed.

Online poker experienced the biggest reduction in market share. Back in 2008, when Swedish players were among the drivers of Europe’s online poker boom, revenue from the game represented 20% of Sweden’s unregulated online gambling market. In 2017, poker accounted for just 7% of the market.

Other online gambling services saw a slight growth within the Scandinavian nation’s iGaming space over the past decade. Revenue from those accounted for 9% of the unregulated market in 2008 and rose to claim an 11% market share in 2017.

According to recent data provided by Lotteriinspektionen, Sweden’s unregulated online gambling market was worth SEK5.534 billion (approximately $670 million) in 2017 in terms of revenue generated throughout the year. The reported figure reflected a 13% increase from the previous year. Unregulated gambling services thus turned into the major driver of growth within Sweden’s gaming and betting space.

The country’s whole gambling market was worth SEK22.604 billion last year, Lotteriinspektionen has reported. In other words, proceeds from unregulated services accounted for a quarter of the country’s gambling revenue.

Market Reregulation

Sweden’s regulated market will soon be expanded as the country’s government has crafted and will soon implement new regulations that would allow for international operators to obtain licenses from Lotteriinspektionen and to operate in a regulated environment.

The nation’s new gambling law is set to take effect on January 1, 2019. The Swedish Gambling Authority recently announced that it would begin accepting applications from interested foreign operators from July 1, 2018.

Sweden’s gambling market has attracted some of Europe’s largest gambling operators and they have been targeting local players for years now, despite the lack of regulations. To secure greater brand exposure and recognition, they have been investing heavily in advertising. According to recent data from Swedish market research firm Kantar Sifo, two international gambling companies made it into the list of the country’s top 20 advertisers in 2017.

Kindred Group (previously Unibet) and LeoVegas, both based in Malta but hailing from Sweden, were among the businesses to spend the most on advertising on Swedish media last year. As Kantar Sifo reported, Kindred invested SEK443.09 million last year, while LeoVegas spent SEK313.1 million on different ad campaigns oriented toward Swedish consumers. LeoVegas recorded the largest annual increase (83.2%) in ad spending in Sweden among the country’s top 20 advertisers.

Analysts believe that international gambling companies will become more aggressive in their approach to advertising in Sweden, now as the local gaming market is on the cusp of regulation and they would seek a larger market share.

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